LaGuardia is the pits.
Half of my airport horror stories are from Miami, despite the full list including multiple overnight delays at Heathrow (one time with two very young children).
My least favorite would have to be Washington National in DC (no, I won’t call it by the other name). All the services are outside the gates, and everything’s way too far spread out. Smaller regional airports don’t seem to make the list, but BDL in Hartford used to be hands-down the most depressing airport I’ve flown out of.
Philly’s not great just because flights are never on time. Pretty nice facilities though.
Worst lines: take your pick of Florida, from MCO to FLL to MIA.
Whichever one I happen to be currently in.
(but kudos to O’Hare for having that awesomely drenched in butter popcorn)
Newark’s a dump, as are DFW and Miami. Houston too, and also has the most unpleasant border agents. Can’t claim to like Bob Hope either. I could do without going to JFK again as well.
They all suck, really.
The nicest ones I know are Copenhagen, Changi, Dubai and Heathrow (T5 only - T4’s pretty rank, don’t know 1-3). SeaTac isn’t too bad.
Any shout outs for East Midlands?
Edit: I forgot O’Hare! Only flew through once, got delayed, like everyone always seems to be. Also a dump.
Dulles. Terminal design is batshit insane.
Also, of you thought O’Hare was bad, try Midway sometime.
Incheon truly is the nicest one I´ve ever been to, haven´t seen Singapore though.
Not very surprising, since Asian countries actually seem to give a shit about service in general and the way they present themselves to the world.
Our airport in Vienna is a scandalous billion-Euro money sink. I especially appreciate how, since the spaces at the new “Sky Link” are pretty narrow anyway, they chose to use lots of dark materials just to make it feel a little more claustrophobic.
Edit: Forgot to mention Amman, that one used to be quite depressing a few years ago, may have gotten better in the meantime.
And American airports are the worst based alone on the fact that you are in constant fear of being taken away to a torture camp if you don´t engage in the lighthearted banter of the immigration officer with just the right mix of humor and submissiveness.
An absolutely staggering amount of money is currently being thrown at renovating LaGuardia and Newark, and these renovations are supposed to include realistic public transit access, which is really the worst thing about them.
As someone now back to the DC area I actually prefer National to the alternatives like Dulles and BWI – for starters, the Metro goes there now (and in not in some theoretical future), plus it isn’t really true that all the services are outside the gates – most of the sit-down restaurants are, but you can still get a sandwich and coffee past security.
Having read the article now, I was momentarily confused by seeing Newark between Bournemouth and Luton. Maybe they mean RAF Newton?
Also, Birmingham Int’l is okay, Savannah-Hilton Head International is a lie (it’s not international!), Hartsfield–Jackson is way too big. Schoenefeld I am glad is closing down, Tegel was better.
I generally try to avoid British airports, and prefer to approach and depart the United Kingdom by sea.
Heathrow gets a special mention, as I have had several nightmares transferring through there.
I live in a city in Ireland which has direct flights to Heathrow, yet when I go to see a mate who works in one of the many business parks in the Heathrow area, I prefer taking a ferry and driving over.
Another vote for heathrow. The construction work that has put terminals outside security, so if you are traveling internationally you have to go through security multiple times is cray cray._
My two cents:
Heathrow T5 is the best terminal I regularly go through. Lines at security and check in haven’t been an issue in years. Shopping is great. Lounges are numerous and great. The Concord Room feels like a Mayfair gentleman’s club. (I sadly don’t get access too often). Transit connections to Paddington are great (although the Heathrow Express ranks as one of the most expensive train journeys per km in the world).
Beijing isn’t bad either, but (last time I visited) the transfer desk was strangely small and understaffed, with the staff having little direct access to the reservations system, requiring hand-written boarding cards, filled in from information provided by phone. This leads to large queues. Overnight transfers need a visa stamp that takes a whole page of your passport (why?). The terminal’s transit hotel is strangely grubby and run down. It almost seems like it was an old and crappy heritage building that they had to build the new terminal around, and aren’t allowed to renovate (or clean). But the major hotels on the ring road provide car transfers for reasonable rates and this beats the cheap but sketchy taxis. Last time I used a car service, it was met at the gate by a young lady who escorted mean through immigration, down a secret wood-panelled elevator, to a private concourse where my car was waiting. The car (Audi A6) had a “hotel-mix” of relaxing classical music playing. I felt like I was a Stonecutter.
Here’s my personal viewpoint (take with a grain of salt)
DFW: Most real services are on the secure side so if you’re droping off or picking up this makes DFW very unappealing to be at. Inter-terminal transport is good during peak hours with secure side transit (Skylink) allowing you to get all the way around the terminal field in under 30 minutes with cars ariving about every 1.5 minutes. Dallas mass transit is short walk to the terminal entrance. Pickup options are well off the airport lot and you have to pay a toll to get onsite.
Denver: Central Ticketing/Security clearance makes for raipid clearing into secure side. Plenty of options inside/outside security cordon for services. Mass transit has recently come to the airport so haven’t personally tried this yet to see how well it interacts with getting to downtown. Plenty of turnoffs near airport land in addition to on site “Phone lot”. Not tolled to get onto Airport
LAX: Separate terminals that require you to re-clear back in for seperate airlines. Minimal services pre-security screening, but afterwords some options available. Clearing in/out on seperate levels which makes pickups/Drops odd.
When an international trvaeler gets past all the shenanigans at lhr it is pleasant. There are just so many shenanigans
My favorite airport is my regional one. It has never taken me more than 10 minutes, everyone is friendly, and while the selection is small they always have a few quality beers on tap.
When was the last time you visited DFW? While yes the facade of the airport is the same as it was back in the 80s, the airport has been modernized inside and feels if not signature level, then acceptable.
Lots of times between 2007 and 2011.
The international terminal is okay, and skylink is good for getting around. The rest of it just felt really run down, and I’ve had bags lost there and TSA always felt the need to have a look (never happened anywhere else, but repeatedly there). Definitely nicer than Houston though. Maybe I have a low opinion of DFW because I mostly associate it with having to go to Waco for work?
Austin seemed okay, but I only flew through there once.
I hear airline pilots granted Washington National the secret Black Star for danger. The only approach is along the river, and when you reach the airport it’s a hard left turn and plummet like a stone onto a very short runway. Wheee!
Living in this area, I predict 90% of this money ill be grifted into someone’s pocket and the price of these will only go up and the projects will experience expensive nonstop delays.